Friday, January 8, 2010

Atherton and onwards

As we were so close, I thought it would be worth a look at Atherton, which is the centre of the Atherton Tablelands region. Surprisingly, with ridiculous amounts of heat, this is a succesful cattle region. That wasn't what I was interested in however.

Atherton was put on the map for me last year when "NRL bad boy" Todd Carney signed up to play for the Atherton Roosters in the Cairns competition. For those not in rugby league land, Todd Carney was the star player for the Canberra Raiders, who you may know as the greatest team of all time...

After an infinite number of warning for varying incidents, he was finally thrown out of Canberra after he was accused of urinating on another man's head at All Bar Nun, just down the road from my house. After getting thrown out of the club a month later he ran riot in his hometown of Goulburn. Famous for not much apart from the gaol which hosts backpacker murderer Ivan Milat (someone who gets brought up every now and again on the backpacker circuit, though he is becoming a bit of a forgotten name these days I think) and the Big Merino, which had to be moved closer to the highway due to dwindling tourist numbers.

His efforts in Goulburn got him banned from his home town for a year, which was probably helpful for the town. In a surprising turn, Mr Mick Nasser, publican of the Atherton Hotel, a major supporter of the Atherton Roosters offered poor old Todd a job, in all places, at the pub. Rooms and lodging and a spot on the Roosters team, which he led to the grand final of the local competiton. Anything old man Nasser says seems to be a direct quote from the 1950s, and is generally highly entertaining.

So anyway, being so close to Atherton, I was keen to investigate further. It seems Todd Carney tourism has not really taken off, as we entered the pub to find it completely empty. Not even some old blokes playing keno, or any "regulars". Just a girl behind the bar who looked displeased she was going to have to wash two glasses at some stage.

On leaving I think I found out why we had missed everyone. Happy hour was over long ago. (Happy hour 10am-12pm, every day!)

We really didn't stay long, and I don't think I would be keen to return. I think it's the kind of place when full, there would be a lot of fights, and regular breaking of pool cues over other people's heads. There was however an interesting show on the TV, about the lady who was originally George Harrison's wife, up until Eric Clapton stole her from him. She had a photo exhibition in Sydney which looked pretty awesome, just some general life shots of different Beatles and Eric Clapton. That was the definite highlight of our brief visit to Atherton.

From Atherton we made a move towards Cairns, not before making yet another stop at the Curtain Fig Tree. This was one stop too many for Francisca, we were both pretty overwhelmed by everything we'd seen that day, it was time to hit the road and head for Cairns. The curtain fig was a product of a number of stangler figs taking over a couple of trees and eventually all joining together.

In the way between us and Cairns was quite a large mountain, which I wasn't really expecting, as it didn't seem we'd climed up so high. I guess the trip up was gradual, with short distances between each stop, whereas going down we were going from the highest point in our trip, right back down to sea level. The road wound on and on and on, it was enough to make you dizzy. Eventually the sign came up "winding road ends soon", I think we both breathed a sigh of relief and made our way into the city centre of Cairns.

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Daniel is now living in Santiago de Chile. You can find some more writing at I Love Chile

Recent Issues of Capital Eyes zine:

Issue 12- Sticky's Target 168: Russia
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Issue 8- 4 Dead, Dangers
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